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45 Winning Recipes for Your Community Chili Cook-Off

Head to a chili cook-off with one of these contest-winning recipes, and you're almost guaranteed to take home a prize. We have top-notch recipes for chili, breads, side dishes, desserts and more.

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Spicy White Chili

I thought the original version of this dish was fine. But my son can't get enough spice, so I added green chiles and other seasonings until I'd created a quick and easy chili he's wild about. —Carlene Bailey, Bradenton, Florida
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Creole Cornbread

Cornbread is a staple of Cajun and Creole cuisine. This version is an old favorite, and it really tastes wonderful. I found the recipe in the bottom of my recipe drawer. —Enid Hebert, Lafayette, Louisiana
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Slow-Cooker Creamed Corn with Bacon

Every time I take this super rich corn to a holiday potluck or work party, I leave with an empty slow cooker. It's decadent, homey and so worth the splurge. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia
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Chili for a Crowd

The basis for this recipe was handed down to me by my aunt, who said she got it from a “grizzled Montana mountain man”. I added some zesty ingredients to come up with the final version. Hot food is something that my husband’s family isn’t accustomed to. So I adjust the spices for them. In fact, with a few simple alterations to the “heat” index, I can serve this chili to anyone. —Lisa Humphreys, Wasilla, Alaska
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Triple-Ginger Gingersnaps

Ginger cookies are holiday hits. Tuck them into clean, recycled coffee cans wrapped in decorative paper. With a glue gun, add ribbon or trim. —Jessica Follen, Waunakee, Wisconsin
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Butternut Squash Chili

Add butternut squash to chili for a tasty, filling, energy-packed dish your whole family will love. Mine does! —Jeanne Larson, Mission Viejo, California
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Chimichurri Monkey Bread

The herby goodness of my favorite sauce shines in this nostalgic bread recipe that comes together quickly thanks to refrigerated biscuits. Serve warm as an appetizer with marinara for dipping, or as a side to an Italian entree. —Eden Dranger, Los Angeles
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Porcini Mac & Cheese

This recipe was inspired by a mushroom mac and cheese I had at a local restaurant. I incorporated the fall flavor of a pumpkin ale, and it turned out better than the original. —Laura Davis, Chincoteague, Virginia
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Creamy White Chili

Years ago, as a time-starved college student, I got this wonderful recipe from my sister-in-law. She had made a big batch and served it to a crowd one night. It was a hit—and easy and quick. In all my years of cooking, I’ve never had another dish get so many compliments. —Laura Brewer, Lafayette, Indiana
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Chili Cornbread Salad

A co-worker brought this wonderful dish to a potluck several years ago. She had copies of the recipe next to the pan. Now I make it for get-togethers and also supply copies of the recipe. I never have any leftover salad or recipes. —Kelly Newsom, Jenks, Oklahoma
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Ground Beef Chili

Everyone who tastes my chili comments that it is restaurant-quality. It's especially good with homemade corn bread. I have always loved to cook, and I enjoy developing original recipes like this one. —Shannon Wright Erie, Pennsylvania
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Golden Honey Pan Rolls

A cousin in North Carolina gave me the recipe for these delicious honey-glazed rolls. Using my bread machine to make the dough saves me about 2 hours compared to the traditional method. The rich buttery taste of these rolls is so popular with family and friends that I usually make two batches so I have enough! —Sara Wing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Chewy Pecan Pie Bars

This treat is one of my husband's favorites. I've been making these bars for many years, and we still can't get enough. I never mind making this recipe—it's about as easy as baking can be! —Judy Taylor, Shreveport, Louisiana
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BLT Twice-Baked Potatoes

Two favorites go together in this hearty dish: BLTs and twice-baked potatoes. I like to serve these potatoes with grilled steaks or barbecued chicken. —Mary Shenk, DeKalb, Illinois
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Warm Feta Cheese Dip

We’re big on appetizers, so this dip is a mashup of our favorite tastes, like cream cheese, feta, basil and sweet peppers. Serve with bread or chips. —Ashley Lecker, Green Bay, Wisconsin
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Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Rich and flavorful, this chili is absolutely packed with fun veggies like mushrooms, beans and sun-dried tomatoes. It's so filling, you'll win over any meat lover. —Pam Ivbuls, Omaha, Nebraska
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Winning Apricot Bars

This recipe is down-home baking at its best, and it really represents all regions of the country. It's won blue ribbons at county fairs and cookie contests in several states! Easy to make, it's perfect for potluck suppers, bake sales, lunchboxes or just plain snacking.—Jill Moritz, Irvine, California
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Fried Chicken and Pulled Pork Cornbread Poppers

These fun little apps are an instant conversation starter wherever they're served. We love them on game day, but they'd be a hit at brunch, too. —Crystal Schlueter, Babbitt, Minnesota
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Over-the-Top Mac 'n' Cheese

This delicious dish is the ultimate comfort food. A blend of five cheeses, it makes a beautiful entree or a special side. I served it at our Thanksgiving dinner, and it received rave reviews. —Connie L McDowell, Greenwood, Delaware
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Confetti Cornbread

My grandmother Virginia always served Southwest cornbread. To honor her, I created a recipe that cuts down on the chopping but never skimps on flavor. —Angie Price, Bradford, Tennessee
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Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

This tender, buttery cream cheese cake with a thin layer of fudge frosting is perfect for a crowd. It's always popular at potlucks and parties. It's not uncommon to see folks going back for second and even third pieces. —Gaye Mann, Rocky Mount, North Carolina
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Milk-and-Honey White Bread

My dad has been a wheat farmer all his life and my state is the wheat capital, so this recipe represents my region and my family well. This bread never lasts too long at our house. —Kathy McCreary, Goddard, Kansas
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Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili

My family is crazy about this slow cooker chili because it uses ingredients you don't usually find in chili. Believe it or not, I discovered that pumpkin is what makes the dish so special. Cook up a big batch and freeze some for later; it tastes even better reheated. —Deborah Vliet, Holland, Michigan
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Loaded Stuffed Potato Pancakes

When I make mashed potatoes, I always cook extra so I can prepare these over-the-top potato pancakes. Fill them with sour cream, ranch dressing, melted cheese—or all three. —Jane Whittaker, Pensacola, Florida
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Pull-Apart Bacon Bread

I stumbled across this recipe while looking for something different to take to a brunch. Boy, am I glad I did! Everyone asked for the recipe and was surprised it called for only five ingredients. It's the perfect treat to bake for an informal get-together. —Traci Collins, Cheyenne, Wyoming
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Fudgy Oat Brownies

These cakelike brownies have a rich, crunchy oat crust and a smooth homemade chocolate frosting. A packaged brownie mix makes the recipe easy to prepare. You can make it even easier by using canned frosting. —Diana Otterson, Canandaigua, New York
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Cowboy Cornbread

This cornbread is richer and sweeter than others I’ve tried, and especially luscious alongside ham and beans. —Karen Ann Bland, Gove, Kansas
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Mini Mac & Cheese Bites

Young relatives were coming for a Christmas party, so I wanted something fun for them to eat. Instead, the adults devoured my mini mac and cheese. —Kate Mainiero, Elizaville, New York
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Chili Skillet

Like most farmers, my husband loves a good hearty chili. With all the vegetables, cheese and meat in it, this dish makes a super supper—and it comes together in one skillet on top of the stove. I serve it frequently in fall and winter. —Katherine Brown, Fredericktown, Ohio
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Muenster Bread

Many years ago my sister and I won blue ribbons in 4-H with this bread. The recipe makes a beautiful round golden loaf. With a layer of cheese peeking out of every slice, it's definitely worth the effort. —Melanie Mero, Ida, Michigan
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Heirloom Tomato Galette with Pecorino

I found beautiful heirloom tomatoes and had to show them off. In this easy galette, the tomatoes are tangy and the crust is beyond buttery. —Jessica Chang, Playa Vista, California
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Hearty Pumpkin Chili with Polenta

Feel free to make this healthy chili a day ahead. It reheats nicely, and the polenta stays good for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge.—Wendy Rusch, Trego, Wisconsin
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Layered Cornbread Salad

When the garden comes in, we harvest the veggies and layer them with cornbread and sweet relish for this snappy salad. Everyone wants seconds. —Rebecca Clark, Warrior, Alabama
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Shortbread Lemon Bars

I've put together two family cookbooks over the years, and this recipe ranks among my favorites. These special lemon bars have a yummy shortbread crust and a refreshing flavor. I never hesitate to make this dessert for guests since I know it will be a hit. —Margaret Peterson, Forest City, Iowa
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Sesame Wheat Braids

When I started making this bread, my husband and our six children liked it so much I was baking every day. I was thrilled when the judges at our county fair gave these braids a blue ribbon and best of show award! —Nancy Montgomery, Hartville, Ohio
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Pork Chile Verde

Pork slowly stews with jalapenos, onion, green enchilada sauce and spices in this flavor-packed Mexican dish. It's wonderful on its own or stuffed in a warm tortilla with sour cream, grated cheese or olives on the side. —Kimberly Burke, Chico, California
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Corn Bread with a Kick

Nothing says southern cooking like crisp corn bread made in a cast iron skillet. I use a very old skillet that belonged to my great-aunt. It will be passed on for generations. —Geordyth Sullivan, Cutler Bay, Florida
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Salted Pecan Shortbread Squares

My shortbread squares are the ultimate go-to for cookie trays and gift-giving. The buttery caramel and toasted nuts make it tough to eat just one. —Diana Ashcraft, Monmouth, Oregon
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Oatmeal Rolls

Most people tell me what they like best about these rolls is they're so moist. I like them because they're simple to make, freeze well and because I grew up on oatmeal and still love it! —Jeanette Fuehring, Concordia, Missouri
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Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

My whole family enjoys this sweet potato black bean chili, but my daughter especially loves it. I like to make it because it's so easy and very flavorful. —Joy Pendley, Ortonville, Michigan
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Rustic Rye Bread

This gorgeous rye bread has just a touch of sweetness and the perfect amount of caraway seeds. With a crusty top and firm texture, it holds up well to sandwiches, but a pat of butter will do the job, too. —Holly Wade, Harrisonburg, Virginia
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White Chocolate Cookies

Fixing desserts is my favorite kind of cooking. I usually make these cookies for Christmas—their pale-white adds a special touch to all the reds and greens. We—my husband, our daughter (6) and I—live on a real dirt road! I'm a full-time wife and mother. Our second child's due to join us in mid-January.
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Appalachian Cornbread

On this westernmost ridge of the Appalachians, we get abundant rain and sunshine, which allows our children to grow a super sweet corn crop. With staggered plantings, there is enough to eat from mid-July through August, plus plenty to freeze for the long winter. This cornbread is just one way we use some of the bounty! —Anne Wiehler, Farmington, Pennsylvania
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Texican Chili

This flavorful, meaty chili is my favorite, and it's so easy to prepare in the slow cooker. It's a terrific way to serve a crowd without last-minute preparation. I got the idea from my mother, who used her slow cooker often for soups and stews. —Stacy Law, Cornish, Utah
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Banana Squares

When we were first married, my husband was in the Navy. Stationed in Puerto Rico, we had banana trees growing in our yard, so I found ways to use dozens of ripe bananas at a time. I made these banana squares often. They freeze well and make a great snack to have on hand when friends drop in for coffee. —Susan Miller, Raleigh, North Carolina

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.

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